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A glance at new state laws going into effect on Wednesday

Wednesday will usher in a new slate of laws from the recent session of the Arkansas Legislature.

Click here for a complete rundown of all of the new laws taking effect tomorrow.

Some new laws of note include:

Acts 158 and 703 now give retailers, restaurants, and other establishments such as local breweries the option of delivering alcohol to customers.

Act 1012, also known as the Arkansas Sovereignty Act of 2021, states that “all acts, laws, orders, rules, and regulations of the United States Government enacted on or after Jan. 1, 2021, infringing on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States are invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, are specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state. The act also provides that a public officer or employee of this state or a representative, agent, or employee of a municipality, a county, or the state, acting under the color of law, with all the rights, grants, and assignments of a law enforcement officer in the state, shall not enforce or assist federal agencies or officers in the enforcement of any federal statute, executive order, or federal agency directive that conflicts with Arkansas law.”

State-based cigar shops will now be able to sell cigars online thanks to Act 940.

Act 792 directs agencies of law enforcement to undergo yearly training regarding the intervention of another law enforcement officer utilizing excessive force.

Acts 1024, 638, and 693 legalize carrying a concealed handgun on various government properties as well as other public locations.

Road hogs now face an amended, more defined law prohibiting driving in the left lane of a “multi-lane” highway under Act 1090.

Legislators also passed a number of new laws dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Such measures might now face some scrutiny as the current outbreak of the Delta variant is actively spreading, primarily among those who have not yet been vaccinated. The variant also is hitting the younger population more so than earlier this year.

Act 1002 is of particular concern to many health experts in Arkansas. The law will ban state and local governments from requiring masks. With Gov. Asa Hutchinson, other officials, and local physicians pushing for vaccinations as the deadly Delta variant pushes hospitals to their limits in terms of COVID-19 patients, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended on Tuesday that everyone in hot spots across the country, vaccinated or not, wear a mask. (Click here for that story.)

Hutchinson has noted he plans to meet with state GOP leaders regarding Act 1002 and perhaps call a special session to change this law. Other new laws that ban state agencies from requiring COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine passports will also take effect Wednesday.


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